Could You Win A Trip To Space? New Group Aims To Use Contest Fees To Support Space Groups, Too

A view of rivers in Montana, USA, from the ISS. Credit: ESA/Luca Parmitano.

A new organization aims to send people to space on private spacecraft while supporting worthy causes on Earth at the same time. Spaceship Earth Grants has launched a contest with a 1-in-50,000 chance for the ultimate ride — a trip into space — and other prizes as well. For example, parabolic flight opportunities will be available for some of the first 5,000 who apply.

“Spaceship Earth Grants is committed to making the space experience accessible to as many people as possible,” the organization wrote on its website. Former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin is its president.

“We know that aspects of spaceflight can cause a profound shift in perspective that positively influences the way people behave and impact the world. Alongside, our grants are intended to facilitate that positive impact in the world. Spaceship Earth Grants will award grants to individuals and organizations.”

Hurricane Felix over the coast of eastern Honduras
Hurricane Felix over the coast of eastern Honduras

The first organizations to receive grants will be mostly space advocacy groups: Fragile Oasis, The Overview Institute, The Planetary Society and Project Nominate. The money will come from a portion of the application fee that people pay when participating in the contest. (The fee ranges from $15 to $90 depending on the relative wealth of your country.)

Applicants are invited to create a 90-second video saying how they will use the trip to space to improve themselves or others. Public voting on the applications will open Jan. 5, 2015, with finalists announced in March and the winners announced in April.